News to know: Facebook privacy changes, Germany patent wars, iPhone suffers in Europe

News to know: Facebook privacy changes, Germany patent wars, iPhone suffers in Europe

Summary: News to know -- December 20-25: A look back at the news from London, the UK and wider Europe, on all the bits that were missed during the week's coverage.


Christmas is over, finally. With my week off and all, it was a conveniently perfect time for a storm of news to hit the technology pages in my absence.

It's time to catch up with what happened as we finish off the turkey trimmings, loosen our belt buckles, and sit down to watch rubbish Boxing Day television.

(I know what you're thinking: "What's Boxing Day?". Most Brits don't even know, but for the sake of argument, nowadays it is just the first day after Christmas).

Forget the minutia; here's what you need to know.

European citizens get Facebook data hoarding reprieve

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has told Facebook to review its privacy policies for non-U.S. citizens, including the social network stopping its practice of indefinitely retaining users' data pertaining to advertisements.

It means that after 90 days, European users' data relating to its social plugin impressions -- such as external 'like' buttons and shared content -- must be deleted.

But the problem is that this only applies to the 500 million or so users outside the United States, rather than as well as the tens of millions on U.S. soil.

The social network was told to be more transparent about its users' data regarding advertising, along with 35 other privacy changes to satisfy both Irish and European law.

In the meantime, other data protection agencies are looking into Facebook -- which has an estimated 850 million users worldwide -- into its practices, policies and privacy settings.

German courts kept busy with patent spats: Samsung vs. Apple, HTC

On Thursday, one German court rejected Apple's bid to further disrupt sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab, after the revisions to change the competing tablet's designed were found to be 'just fine'.

Samsung had sufficiently changed the tablet's design to satisfy the courts, but not Apple for which it is competing with. To reflect the changes, Samsung renamed the tablet to the Galaxy Tab 10.1N.

But it's not over yet. Just because this preliminary assessment falls in Samsung's favour, it only goes a way to suggest the final ruling expected in early February.

At a different court in Germany, patent firm IPCom sued about 25 retailers in the country for continuing to sell HTC manufactured phones.

While Taiwan-based HTC continues to be involved in litigation over the validity of the UMTS technology, the patent in question, HTC has to seek other markets to combat the shortfall in sales in Germany.

The patent firm asked retailers not to continue selling HTC phones, and when they didn't, they were lumped in with patent infringement claims also.

iPhone 'only prospers' in UK: Rest of Europe shows little interest

The iPhone 4S may account for just shy of a third of all smartphones sold in the last quarter. Apple's share across Europe has -- believe it or not -- actually dropped, with the UK picking up most of the slack.

Both France and Germany, and Italy and Spain, have opted for cheaper smartphones in cash-strapped economies, CNET UK reports.

Apple's marketshare in France dropped 9 percent and 5 percent in Germany, with both scraping above the 20 percent share mark.

The UK, detached from mainland Europe, remains a key player in Apple's smartphone share. Australia and the U.S. still show storming growth, particularly in the run up to Christmas.

From previous weeks:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Apple, iPhone, Mobility

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  • RE: News to know: Facebook privacy changes, Germany patent wars, iPhone suffers in Europe

    The iPhone 4s is honestly a mediocre success... Crud, even the zdnet survey on the phone as a failure or success for last year had the iPhone 4s rated nearly 60% as a failure and that's going to open the doors to Android finishing the Job... Europe is just ahead of the curve, that's all!
    • RE: News to know: Facebook privacy changes, Germany patent wars, iPhone suffers in Europe

      @Peter Perry
      "mediocre success"? That's like saying a student "barely passed" an exam with a 97 out of a perfect 100 score.
  • I wonder if the drop in iPhone sales in Europe

    is related to Apple's ongoing lawsuits.

    It is possible that a large number of consumers are looking at Apple as using their marketshare as a weapon against Samsung, and want no part of a company with the cash reserves of Apple using that to bully smaller players in the market.

    Tim Cook
  • Samsung sold (not shipped) over 300 million phones in 2011

    Google [b]Samsung sold over 300 million phones in 2011[/b] and see for yourself what it's all about.

    Just an FYI. This ain't no RDF, mere simple reality...

    Few people have the imagination for reality
    ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    The best mind altering drug is the truth.
    ~ Lily Tomlin

    The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.
    ~ Winston Churchill[/i]
  • RE: News to know: Facebook privacy changes, Germany patent wars, iPhone suffers in Europe

    It probably doesn't help, that Apple products have theoretically been banned in Germany, due to patent infringement - although they still seem to be on sale. :-S

    The two main reasons I switched away from the iPhone were reliability and it starting to feel old fashioned.

    iOS decided it didn't like my Audible collection and corrupted it on a regular basis - then synced the corruption back to my iMac! After re-downloading the collection for the third time in a week, I gave up and ordered an htc Sensation.

    I also have a WP7 phone.

    To be honest, the iPhone is the worst of the three, not just because of its penchant for corrupting audio books, but because it feels old fashioned.

    Metro, on WP7, is much nicer to use, easier and provides more information on the home screen, without having to always jump into an app.

    Android is more flexible than iOS, although I would say that it isn't as simple to use as iOS or WP7.

    But, compared to both of them iOS just looks so... 2007... And the quality has been going down hill since 4.0 was released. iOS 3 is what made me get an iPhone, coming over from a WinMo phone. It was refreshing, clean, easy to use. iOS 4 somehow was a step backwards, with 4.3 being a bloated, unreliable mess, iOS 5 is even worse in many respects - although the bits it stole from Android and WP7 work quite well, it has become increasingly sluggish.

    On the new 3GS that we got in a couple of months back, the Settings app takes over 10 seconds to load! Switching the screen off, then back on in a game, like Angry Birds, leaves the game unplayable for 30 seconds or so - launching a bird across the screen, the whole thing jerks and it is impossible to accurately deploy a bird's special ability.

    WP7.5 is much smoother on the first generation 'phone I have. It would be unfair to compare a 3GS to a Sensation, given that it has a dual core processor and is running the OS it was released with.